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CCDC could expand urban renewal area to build affordable housing near Julia Davis Park

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The City of Boise has asked urban renewal agency Capital City Development Corp. to expand an existing urban renewal to help an effort to replace a maintenance area next to Julia Davis Park.

Boise Mayor Lauren McLean told BoiseDev earlier this month that she hoped to use land the city owns next to the park for its affordable land trust.

The city wrote a memo to CCDC asking it to consider adding two properties the city owns between the park and Myrtle St. and between 5th St. and 3rd St. Currently, Boise Parks and Recs uses the 2.2-acre site for maintenance activities, and the land is used as a laydown yard, with sheds and surface parking.

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“What we understand from this request, is that from the process of assessing the operational needs of facilities citywide, the city has determined that the public would be best served if the city shifts to a single shared service campus mentality that could provide more efficient service delivery,” Zach Piepmeyer with CCDC said.

Housing in place of empty lot

Piepmeyer said the city may relocate the current facilities as soon as this spring.

In its place, McLean said the city hopes to build affordable housing.

“If we are able to incorporate this and speed up the process to move the laydown yard from this spot, we (might be) able to use this land like we are with others from a land trust perspective,” McLean said.

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The city has two other land trust projects in the work, including a project on the former Franklin School site at Franklin Rd. and Orchard St. on the Boise Bench, and on the former Smoky Davis site on State St.

Under the land trust model, the city owns the land and leases it to developers at a low rate. The developer will then build and own a housing complex and promise to lease many or all of the units at fixed-income rates.

CCDC board chair Dana Zuckerman supported the move.

“This is clearly blight,” she said. “Using this parcel on the edge of a beautiful park as parking for trucks is by no means the best and highest use and it is unsightly. I would love to see some sort of housing go in there, and preferably affordable housing. It would be a great area to balance out market-rate housing across the street.”

Process from here

The urban renewal agency will start an eight-month process to look at expanding the River-Myrtle/Old Boise urban renewal area to include the land. If the agency ultimately determines the land is eligible and moves to add it in, it will then move to the Boise City Council for its approval.

If it makes it through the process, CCDC could use funds collected through its tax increment financing model to help fund improvements on the site.

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“Inclusion in the RMOB could allow for partnerships with city and CCDC and offset public infrastructure costs associated with that improvement,” Piepmeyer said.

Last year, the City of Boise studied ending the River-Myrtle/Old Boise urban renewal area early, though the idea didn’t move forward. The URA will terminate in 2025.

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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